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And, yes, I DO take it personally: The Afghanistan election drama - a bit of Bollywood in Kabul [UPDATE]
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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Afghanistan election drama - a bit of Bollywood in Kabul [UPDATE]



another chapter in the suspense-filled serial... (see previous installments below...)
Afghanistan's election commission has said that presidential polls will take place on August 20, rejecting a request from Hamid Karzai, the country's president, for them to be held in the spring.

In a decree issued last week, Karzai said the elections should take place in April in line with the constitution that requires the vote to take place 30 to 60 days before the end of his mandate on May 21.

But on Wednesday, election officials repeated their belief that a fair vote would be impossible in spring because of the threat of violence and snow in the country's remote mountainous areas.

"While we respect and accept the president's decree, its implementation is not possible because all the problems which we listed previously, which are mainly security and weather conditions, are still in place," Azizullah Ludin, head of the Independent Election Commission (EC), said.

"This is why after a thorough study the EC came to the conclusion that we have to hold transparent, free and fair elections. That's why we confirm the date of August 20."


But with that date being confirmed, it is now unclear who will be president after Karzai's term ends.


The National Front, the main political opposition group formed of a fragile coalition of opposition parties and some other candidates welcomed the commission's decision and called for "national dialogue" on an interim administration.

oh, we're in for months of great fun...!

for those just joining us, here are the previous installments of our pot-boiler...


bollywood soap operas are hugely popular on afghan tv, despite the taliban's expressed displeasure over their perceived pollution of the morals of the populace... watching the latest gyrations over the afghan presidential elections, i can't help but think of a bollywood serial - many actors, byzantine subplots, and enough twists and turns to boggle the mind of any one trying to figure out what the hell is going on...

first, the elections were going to be postponed until august 20...

Afghanistan on Thursday announced presidential elections for August 20, hoping a U.S. troop surge will improve security at a time when violence is at the highest levels since the 2001 overthrow of the Taliban.

President Hamid Karzai has strongly hinted he will run for re-election saying he still has "a job to complete," but his popularity has waned both among Afghans and his Western backers due to rampant corruption and weak government outside Kabul.

well, nobody liked THAT...
The credibility of the international mission in Afghanistan was dealt a blow yesterday with the announcement that presidential elections have been put back by three months.

The delay, which pushes the vote back until mid-August, was blamed on the difficult security conditions in many parts of the country and logistical and technical problems. It has sparked fears of political turmoil at a time when President Karzai’s administration is becoming increasingly unpopular among Afghans weary of the fighting and endemic corruption.

so, karzai pushes the election date up to april...
President Hamid Karzai decreed Saturday that presidential elections be moved forward to April or May, just weeks after they were set for August, in what appears to be an attempt to avert constitutional challenges to his legitimacy.

Mr. Karzai, who has declared his intention to run for a second term, is supposed to step down on May 21, when his current five-year term ends, under the terms of the country’s Constitution. But Afghanistan’s election commission announced in January that weather conditions and poor security had forced it to delay presidential and provincial elections until Aug. 20, which immediately raised questions over Mr. Karzai’s legitimacy for the intervening three months.

so, now the u.s. ain't happy...
The US rejects the Afghan president's call for an early poll on April 21, saying it prefers an August date for presidential elections in Afghanistan.

In Washington, State Department Spokesman Robert Wood said on Sunday that it still believed an August date would be best for a free and fair election.

One Western official told The Daily Telegraph an attempt to hold the poll within weeks was 'absolutely ridiculous'.

The US and its western allies' criticism come after the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai on Saturday, called for polls before his term ends on May 21. Karzai issued a decree for elections 'according to the constitution', which says the vote, should be held 30 to 60 days before his term ends.

and it looks like nobody else is happy either...
President Hamid Karzai's call to suddenly move up elections from late summer to early spring drew cries of "sabotage" Sunday from political opponents who know they can't win the presidency if a vote is held next month.

But few in the capital think Karzai's decree is anything but a political gambit meant to give him the high ground in a tussle for power come May 22, when the Afghan constitution says his five-year term expires.

but, despite all the moaning and groaning, karzai's opposition is nonetheless lining up...
Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, is facing more resistance after he issued a decree to bring the country's presidential elections forward, from August to April.

But while the official date of the elections is being disputed, some of Karzai's former advisers are already lining up to challenge him.

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